Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles Book 2
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis:  Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

What a fantastic sequel! I really enjoyed the first book in The Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, even though I did have a few criticisms. Scarlet, however, was vastly improved and far and away a fantastic SciFi read (get it?).

Just like Cinder, Scarlet is a totally creative and post-modern fairy tale retelling. The world Marissa Meyer created is an amazing and technologically advanced future inhabited with robots, cyborgs, and sinister queens from the moon. Scarlet picks right up where Cinder left off and we immediately find out what happens to cyborg mechanic Cinder who is left learning some insane information and unable to do anything about it. The first book ended so abruptly it was great to not have to wait to find out what happened to our heroine. Cinder is growing, evolving, and coming to grips with the knowledge she learned in the first book. So far her character is slowly development as the series goes and and it's been so entertaining to be along for the ride. 

But we also get to meet some amazing new characters. First and foremost we have our title character, a postmodern Little Red Riding Hood, with her hooded sweatshirt and spunky attitude. I was immediately in love with Scarlet who angrily throws the vegetables she is trying to sell against a wall when we first meet her. She's stubborn and determined to do what no one else wants to do. She reminds me a little bit of the Little Red Riding Hood in the musical Into the Woods. Then we have Wolf, the street fighter who is the only one who can help Scarlet find her grandmother. He is totally swoonworthy and I love him for being mysterious and full of secrets, secrets I can't help but feel are not completely revealed (basically I trust no one). I did however enjoy the the relationship between Scarlet and Wolf, the were so adorable. But my personal favorite new character was Thorne, a delightful "lovable rogue" who is a thief and self-proclaimed captain helping Cinder. I adored their dynamic. They're so snarky and bicker so much it's great comic relief. Marissa Meyer writes such likable and interesting characters and the characters in Scarlet were no different.

But what Meyer also does so brilliantly is play on the well-known fairy tales and put a creative and refreshing spin on them. Not only do we have the Sci-Fi elements like spaceships and cyborgs we also have the adaptation of the classic tale. Just like in Cinder I found myself comparing the story to the all too familiar take of a little girl traveling in the dark woods to her sick grandmother. In Scarlet there are some really creative moments including the wolf in disguise scene and the classic "what big teeth you have" line, but we also have the common wolf mythology that was modernized such as finding a wolf in the hen house. Every moment that I could relate to the classic story was so creative that I could help but smile and enjoy it. My favorite modern change was the play on the "damsel in distress" trope you see a lot in fairy tales, in this book it is the girls who come to the rescue. On the whole, it was a brilliantly refreshing take on a classic fairy tale.

A lot of my frustrations with Cinder were resolved in Scarlet. We weren't overwhelmed with world-building and despite the expanding world things were never too big or confusing. The plot moved at a steady and interesting pace, then things exploded. The ending was incredibly action-packed and I spent a lot of my time with my mouth agape thinking that there was no way they could take things further, but I was inevitably pulled wrong! Plus I didn't feel like information was intentionally kept from me to make things mysterious, it was legitimately mysterious. Despite a relatively similar twist in the middle there were tons of surprises. And while it ended with a similar "what now?" feeling the ending didn't feel like as much of a cliffhanger. Maybe that's because we got a resolution to Scarlet's story where we didn't get that from Cinder's or maybe I'm just overly critical of first books. Either way I cannot wait to keep going in the series and read Cress!

Scarlet is an incredible second book in The Lunar Chronicles series. I give it a 9 out of 10

If you are a fan of Science Fiction, fairy tale retellings, or books with interesting and complex characters than definitely check out this series. If you have read The Lunar Chronicles leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts and as always HAPPY READING!


  1. I just read Cinder yesterday, and I loved it. I can't wait to read Scarlet. I am glad to see that you enjoyed it. :)

  2. So happy to see your love for this series! It quickly became a favorite of mine and I loooooved Cress! I can't wait to see your thoughts on that! I just loved how everything always ties together and I'm constantly amazed at Marissa Meyer's plotting and characters! :D